March 31, 2023

Suryakumar Yadav is really happy with the way he’s batting at the moment. He said as much after slamming an unbeaten 111 off 51 in Mount Maunganui to lift India to 191 for 6 in the second T20I against New Zealand. He also explained why he held back, relatively speaking, till the 17th over of the innings – he was 57 off 35 at the end of the 16th, before ransacking 54 off his last 16 deliveries.

“In T20 cricket, a hundred is always special,” Suryakumar told the broadcasters after India’s innings. “But it was also important for me to bat till the end, that’s what Hardik [Pandya, his partner in an 82-run stand for the fourth wicket] was telling me from the other end. Just try and play till the 18th-19th over, we need a score of 180-185, and really happy with the score on the board.

“I’m enjoying batting this way, I’ve been doing the same thing in the nets, all practice sessions and going out [to the middle], all these things happening, I’m very happy with that.”

Suryakumar is currently the No. 1 T20I batter in the world, having piled up 1151 runs in the format in 2022 – this innings included – at a strike rate of 188.37, including two hundreds, nine fifties and a stunning 67 sixes. Of those runs, 239 came in the just-concluded T20 World Cup, at a strike rate of 189.68 – he finished that tournament with the highest strike rate among the 144 batters who totalled 10 or more runs, and the third third-highest aggregate.

In Mount Maunganui, India were 108 for 3 in the 13th over, when Hardik joined Suryakumar in the middle. “We [he and Hardik] had a word after the 15th and 16th over, that let’s try and take it deep,” Suryakumar said. “Because after Hardik, it was only [Deepak] Hooda and Washy [Washington Sundar] to come, and we wanted to maximise the last four overs. I’m really happy with the way things went.”

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